Public education

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the school district that controls over 600 public elementary and high schools in Chicago. The school district, with more 400,000 students enrolled, is led by CEO Arne Duncan. The CPS also includes several selective-admission magnet schools, such as Whitney Young Magnet High School, William Jones College Prep, Walter Payton College Prep, Lane Tech College Prep, and Northside College Preparatory High School.

Like many urban U.S. school districts, CPS suffered many problems throughout the latter half of the 20th century, including overcrowding, underfunding, mismanagement and a high dropout rate. In 1987, then U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett named the Chicago Public Schools as the "worst in the nation." Several school reform initiatives have since been undertaken to improve the system's performance. Reforms have included a system of Local School Councils, Charter Schools, and efforts to end social promotion. The most notable and public of these reforms has been a concerted effort at aggressively closing down underperforming schools while at the same time renovating and improving successful ones or building new ones .

Higher education

Chicago is home to many institutions of higher education within its city limits and nearby environs. While some of these institutions are primarily located outside of central Chicago, many have downtown branches. The city is home to two of America's top research universities: University of Chicago in Hyde Park on the South Side and Northwestern University in northside suburb Evanston. Both maintain campuses near the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago. Several private Catholic universities are located in Chicago, such as DePaul University (the largest private university in Illinois), St. Xavier University, and Loyola University.

The University of Illinois at Chicago is the city's largest university and features the nation's largest medical school. The Illinois Institute of Technology in Bronzeville has renowned engineering and architecture programs. Dominican University, outside Chicago in River Forest, teaches many library courses at the Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Building. North Park University, a small Christian liberal arts university affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church, is located on the northwest side in the North Park neighborhood. The Chicago region has 12 accredited theological schools representing Catholic and most Protestant denominations. The United Church of Christ-related Chicago Theological Seminary is the city's oldest institution of higher education. These accredited seminaries are joined in a consortium known as the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS). The Moody Bible Institute is near downtown. Chicago State University and Northeastern Illinois University are other state universities in Chicago. The city also has a large community college system known as the City Colleges of Chicago. Additionally, there are several smaller colleges noted for their fine arts education programs - Roosevelt University, Columbia College Chicago, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

holds a distinguished place in the history of American education. Institutions such as the University of Chicago and Northwestern University are known around the world. The University of Chicago, in particular, has more Nobel Prize laureates than any other university in the country and was the site of the first nuclear reaction in the history of the world. The concept of junior colleges was pioneered by Chicagoans William Rainey Harper and J. Stanley Brown in 1899. At the time, Brown was the superintendent of the Joliet Schools. During this time he developed a six year plan for high school students. As a result, Joliet Junior College was established and to this day, it remains the nation's oldest community college.

  • Adler School of Professional Psychology
  • Catholic Theological Union
  • Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • Chicago State University
  • Chicago Theological Seminary, the oldest institution of higher education in the City of Chicago; a seminary of the United Church of Christ.
  • City Colleges of Chicago
    • Richard J. Daley College
    • Kennedy-King College
    • Malcolm X College
    • Olive-Harvey College
    • Harry S Truman College
    • Harold Washington College
    • Wilbur Wright College
  • Columbia College Chicago, located in the South Loop, the largest media arts school in the nation.
  • DePaul University, the largest Roman Catholic university in the country and the largest private educational institution in Chicago. Main campuses are in Lincoln Park and in the Loop.
  • East-West University, located in the South Loop.
  • Harrington College of Design, located in the Loop, grants BFA degrees in Interior Design and Associate's in other design fields.
  • Illinois College of Optometry, the largest and oldest optometry college in the United States.
  • Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago, based in the Merchandise Mart and Loop, offers Fashion, Interior Design, Media and culinary degrees.
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, located in Bronzeville, known for its engineering and architecture programs. Includes Chicago-Kent College of Law.
  • John Marshall Law School, located in the heart of the Loop, John Marshall is the city's oldest independent law school.
  • Kendall College
  • The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
  • Loyola University, among the largest of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. It has four campuses including the Loyola University Chicago Rome Center in Rome, Italy. The main Lakeshore Campus in Rogers Park and Edgewater is home to the College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Joseph College Seminary and Mundelein College, the first college housed in a skyscraper in the United States.
  • MacCormac College, a 2-year career college located in the Loop.
  • McCormick Theological Seminary, a seminary of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
  • Meadville Lombard Theological School, a graduate school of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
  • Moody Bible Institute
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • North Park Theological Seminary, a seminary affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church.
  • North Park University
  • Northwestern University main campus in Evanston, IL (a suburb), with a campus in Streeterville, north of the Loop.
  • Pacific College of Orienal Medicine
  • Robert Morris College
  • Roosevelt University, a private institute of higher education located in the Auditorium Building, with a satellite campus in nearby suburban Schaumburg and extension sites in the Little Village and Logan Square neighborhoods of Chicago.
  • Rush University, a private healthcare-oriented university which includes Rush Medical College.
  • Saint Xavier University Chicago's oldest Roman Catholic university, founded by the Sisters of Mercy.
  • The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Shimer College, known as "The Great Books College of the Midwest," with its unique curriculum based on small discussion classes concerning readings of original sources, rather than textbooks.
  • Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago, offers doctoral degrees in computer science
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Chicago, the largest university in Chicago
  • Vandercook College of Music, a private four-year college specializing in educating music educators.
  • Westwood College Of Technology

Also, Chicagoland has a large number of colleges without campuses in the city proper.